NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - If you ride on WeGo throughout the city, get ready to see some changes to some of the routes.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity to expand service again,” WeGo Public Transit CEO Steve Bland said.
Bland said you can see those expansions beginning Oct. 3 and in March 22. Riders will notice more options than they had even before the pandemic began.
“I think one of the big things, and one thing that transit advocates and riders have been asking for, for many years is we’re extending service hours on a whole bunch of routes, particularly our higher readership. It’s not just on weeknights, but also on weekends,’ Bland said.
Specifically, for those riding near Skyline Medical Center, Bland said with new apartments developing around that area, plus many of the riders being essential workers, he knows that this update is long overdue.
“You’re telling us this, that it’s going to be pushed to 2022 for the spring. But how do you even know that you’re still going to have the manpower then to even do it,” Darius Knight, a board member for Transit Now Nashville, said.
Transit advocates like Knight worry if these changes will truly impact those who need it the most. He’s also concerned about whether these plans will even happen since WeGo, like many industries, is having a staffing shortage.
Bland said WeGo plans on having the staffing shortage improved by fall and spring.
“Absolutely, that’s the target,” he said.
Then there’s COVID-19 and the spread of the Delta variant. Bland said masks are required on buses. So far eh said they’ve given out over 30,000 riders on board. Safety for the riders and drivers is a top priority, Bland said.
“We’ve upgraded our cleaning procedures and cleaning staff. We’ve implemented a lot of new technologies. We closely monitor our passenger boarding counts to make sure we account for proper social distancing,” Bland said.
Knight encourages riders to wear masks too for riders and drivers to remain safe. He hopes that these changes stick, especially for those who depend on WeGo to get around.
“One other thing I’d like to stress, to our city and to our mayor and to our council, we set forth an effort and said we were going to be about transit, and we were going to make sure transit was better than it has been. We’re nowhere near what our peer cities are,” Knight said.
WeGo is also encouraging people to apply because there are jobs available.